Tonight in the City 6: Easy game for Temple

Tonight in the City 6: Easy game for Temple
February 14, 2013, 12:30 pm
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Two of the City 6 teams are in action on Valentine’s Day, as Temple and Drexel both play host to conference opponents.

Temple vs. Duquesne – 7 p.m.
Liacouras Center

Temple looks to extend its win streak to three games Thursday night against lowly Duquesne. The Owls are 16-7 and 5-4 in the Atlantic 10. The Dukes are 7-16 and 0-9, and are in dead-last in the 16-team conference.

Critical stretch for Owls
The A-10 is all bunched up, with the top five teams all within a ½-game of each other and the top nine teams separated by two games. Temple currently sits in eighth, but a win and a UMass loss at VCU would move Fran Dunphy’s team into a tie for sixth with the Minutemen and the Charlotte 49ers, who upset Butler at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Wednesday night.

Wyatt rolling
If Temple finishes out its schedule strong, Khalif Wyatt is a favorite to win A-10 Player of the Year. The Owls senior guard leads the conference in scoring at 18.9 points per game, and has led his team in scoring in 14 of 23 games this season, as well as eight of the last nine.

Wyatt is averaging 24.3 points over his last nine games and has won two straight A-10 Player of the Week honors.

Duquesne is ... not good
The Dukes have lost 11 straight games and none of them have been all that close. None of the contests have been decided by fewer than three possessions.

Duquesne shoots just a tick above 40 percent and has only two players averaging double-figures – freshman guard Derrick Colter (12.7 ppg, 5.0 apg) and senior guard Sean Johnson (12.3 ppg).

After the game
Temple heads to UMass for a critical Saturday matchup, while Duquesne plays 14th-place Rhode Island.

Drexel vs. George Mason – 7 p.m.
Daskalakis Athletic Center

If anyone knows what to make of this Drexel team, feel free to share. Just when you think the Dragons are going good, they lose to 2-20 Old Dominion. Just when you think they’ve bottomed out, they respond by beating James Madison, which has 15 wins and is in third place in the CAA.

Drexel, of course, was picked to win the CAA but issues with health, bad luck and downright poor late-game execution have led to a 10-14 overall record and 6-6 mark in the conference.

Mason has been slightly disappointing, too, going 14-10 and 7-5 in the CAA in the second year without longtime coach Jim Larranaga, who has No. 3 Miami rolling.

Piece together a streak
Drexel has won consecutive games just once all season – from Jan. 19-26 with victories over William & Mary, Hofstra and Georgia State. They followed that stretch by losing three of four, before beating JMU last Sunday.

Prior to the Madison game, Drexel’s last win came at George Mason on Jan. 31. The Dragons beat the Patriots, 58-54, behind stingy defense and 29 points from Damion Lee.

Which Lee shows up?
Lee wasn’t fully healthy for at least one of the games, but the sophomore guard has totaled 16 points on 4-for-21 shooting in the Dragons’ last three games.

That comes after a two-game stretch in which Lee scored 59 points and made 21 of 40 shots.

Drexel is 6-3 when Lee shoots 46 percent or better from the floor.

Implications
If Drexel loses to Mason, it will officially be unable to win the CAA. Northeastern leads the pack at 12-2, and a loss would mean the Dragons could, at best, finish with 11 wins.